Into the wild with webcams

Johanna Miyaki

It is certainly difficult to replicate or even compare the experience of an in person encounter in nature. Watching a wolf stalk its prey or diving among stunning coral reefs and schools of magnificent tropical fish. Enter wildlife and nature webcams, making these virtual encounters accessible from just about anywhere. During the pandemic, it can be a wonderful escape from the confines of the indoors and certainly far more interesting than going down the rabbit hole of your social media feed. Advancements in technology also make it possible to feel up close and personal with locations that may be hard to access or animals that may be too dangerous in real life. The development and constant improvement of high-definition cameras have allowed scientists to study wildlife and nature as well as the impacts on the environment due to climate change all over the world, from anywhere in the world, at any time. A fascinating look into the most remote parts of the world and the creatures that inhabit them can be enjoyed right from your phone, tablet, or computer screen through a live stream feed.

Checkout these wonderful nature and wildlife cams in the backyard of my beautiful city of San Francisco, down the California coast, across the country, and around the world.

Resident Bison in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park celebrated 150 years in 2020. The paddock is by far one of the park’s most beloved destinations. The bison have resided in the park since 1892 and have called the paddock home since 1899. The next best thing to seeing them in person, is viewing them from one of two live web cams.

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Golden Gate Park welcomed five female bison to the paddock in March of 2020. Photo Credit: James Watkins

Monterey Bay Aquarium in California offers live web cams that bring underwater wonders to your screen from fuzzy Sea Otters to dreamy Moon Jelly. Check listing for viewing times.

  • Sea Otter Cam
  • Kelp Forest Cam
  • Aviary Cam
  • Jelly Cam
  • Penguin Cam
  • Open Sea Cam
  • Monterey Bay Cam
  • Shark Cam
  • Moon Jelly Cam

Channel Islands Live Ocean Webcam offers a rare glimpse life underwater in one of the richest marine environments in the world. Channel Islands National Park is off the coast of California between Ventura and Los Angeles.

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Anacapa Ocean - Channel Islands National Park, CA Photo Credit: National Parks Service

The California Academy of Sciences (also known as Cal Academy by locals) is temporarily closed during the "Shelter in Place" mandates due to Covid 19, however you can still enjoy these incredible best exhibits via live stream. Check each cam listing for live stream hours.

Penguin Cam: African penguins for your viewing pleasure on three live cams at Cal Academy is three times the fun. Choose from the Colony cam, the Underwater cam or the Biologist cam.

Reef Lagoon Cam: Captivating species of rays and tropical fish drift across your screen on this webcam that streams live 24/7 for the Academy.

Farallon Islands Cam: Take in the views of the rugged shoreline of the Farallon Islands and its marine mammals and birds. The newly restored high-definition webcam is streaming live from a lighthouse atop Southeast Farallon Island. Check out the “Control the Camera” feature and you can take a turn choosing from list of preset camera views for two minutes.

Philippine Coral Reef Cam: The Philippines is an island country of Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. An archipelago consisting of some 7,100 islands with more than 500 species of coral and 2,000 species of fish. This exhibit replicates some of the beauty and biodiversity found there and is offered to enjoy via live cam courtesy of the Academy with live show feedings daily at 11:30 am and 2:30 pm PST.

National Arboretum Bald Eagle Nest Cam Washington, DC

In 2014, a pair of mated bald eagles chose to nest in a Tulip Poplar Tree at the United States National Arboretum, in Washington, DC. This was the first-time bald eagles have nested in this location since 1947. The lovebirds were affectionately named, “The President” and “The First Lady. This pair raised one eaglet successfully in 2015 and two in 2016. Take in either of the two live cams with one trained on the eagle’s nest!

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Friday, January 22, 2021 - Mr. President. Photo Credit: American Eagle Foundation

The International Wolf Center in Ely, MN has live cams broadcasting ambassador wolves, the exhibit pack as well as retired wolves. It may take time to spot the wolves, meanwhile you can enjoy the flurry of snowfall they get this time of year.

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Friday, January 8, 2021, Ely, Mn - Grayson and Axel from the Exhibit Pack at the International Wolf Center. Photo: Krista Harrington

Explore.org is the world's leading philanthropic live nature cam network and documentary film channel, they host countless, stunning live cams from around the globe!

The Lonely Planet has links to some incredible wildlife cams. For the adventurous traveler eager for wanderlust, this may tide you over for a little while.

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Covering news and telling stories from beautiful San Francisco and beyond if the story takes me there! More than Human Interest stories, I will share stories about Interesting Humans. Not just Breaking News but news that matters to you, to the local community and the world we share. Follow me here on News Break! ~ Johanna Miyaki

San Francisco, CA
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